Friday, 15 June 2012

Familiarity Breeds success For 3 Lions

Indeed , I urged Roy Hodgson and his England  team to show a method to the madness , and Good Old  Roy and the Boys responded by Unfurling English Football's Vintage emblem - a beanpole Number 9 in Andy Carroll , some quick wing play , and nostalgic crossing . Discredited but devastating the tactic turned-out to be  against  Sweden in this  Group D contest in Kiev. For large spells in the second half particularly , the game aped a tussle between two mediocre premiership sides ,  on a dreary autumn saturday.
It is incontrovertible that England felt freer , and played to their traditional strengths due to the opposition . The Swedes are so  England's  type , and having no fewer than six players in their starting XI with past or present premiership connections , you can understand  the connotations .  Even the 3-2 score line had a familiar echo to it . Let's toast to the Lions and their manager . He has enjoyed  general goodwill , and 3 wins from 4 games is as good a start as you would want . Spare a thought for Sweden, yes, an average side , but any balanced analysis would reveal they did not deserve to lose this game , and we said that after their game against Ukraine previously . Scant consolation .

ON ENGLAND'S TACTICS :  4-4-2  was back in vogue - The manager played Andy Carroll alongside Danny Wellbeck in a clear indication crosses were going to be applied . The back line was same as against France , only less effective. Ashley Cole was probably the most productive ; While Terry did some good defending too . In Midfield - James Milner adapted to the  pseudo winger format adequately ; Parker and Gerrard looked like  ducks in a pond - freer , normal ,  as typical a saturday performance as  you'd see from them in the League season . This  state of affairs reveals a monolithic preponderance of the two central midfielders .
Certainly Hodgson's tactics freed-up  England  in attitude , but scarce little in quality .  The  ploy was in part to keep the ball , achieve penetration and crosses via the flanks . Andy Carroll may not be my cup of tea , but his header for England's opener was text book . Give it up for Steven Gerrard , and the cross. Sweden had the lion's share of possession , and the more cohesive  side . England were effective in Sweden's box, but oh dear ! this lot are not even qualified to tutor eight year olds on ball distribution. Their general play was asymmetrical and haphazard time too many. Walcott came on for Millner  only to enhance the paradox with a lucky goal (out of nothing) to bring scores to 2-2. The Arsenal Man was the perfect outlet with his speed , and after some nice combination play down the right , crossed low for Wellbeck to skillfully turn-in  England's winner in sublime fashion . Once you have won a game , any tactics or non tactics the Coach(s ) employs is fair game. Kudos , Roy !!!

UNLUCKY SWEDEN :  Fortune dealt Sweden a cruel hand. Out of Euro 2012 after two narrow defeats , and both somewhat unfair. They must hold an inquest into their appalling inability to deal with crosses. Nearly all the goals they have conceded in the tournament have come courtesy of a flighted ball into / across their box.  Intrinsically , they had the better make-up , and approach play against England. They even looked the more comfortable and confident on the ball. They kept it as a team , especially in midfield with Kallstrom and Svensson in tandem with Ibrahimovic , who  probed  for the right openings in the last third.  Their full backs Martin Olsson and  Granqvist gave decent support to their attacks. You could not fault their application as such, and perhaps if star man Ibrahimovich could give another 25% of effort and skill , with reduced Self-absorption ,  just maybe they would have won with day light to spare. Having deservedly led the game at 2-1 for a spell , only to lose it 3-2 , the players know they let it slip away.

TYPICAL: While England celebrate this exciting win , it's imperative , in addition , that caution is evoked in this narrative.  There are many facets to the truth  sometimes , and when you dissect the game,  or re-watch it ,  you might learn to extricate reality from euphoria . It's great to have won this one , but i shudder at the depth of due diligence  needed to take our game to the next level . Remember we had to roll back the years to eek out a method on how to beat a modest side..... retrogression or progression ? food for thought .

Thanks ever so much for you readership .  Next-up , you can can read my blog on the shock dismissal of Fans' Favourite Harry Redknapp from Spurs. That's posted at 10am , British Summer Time,  Sunday, June 17th . Stay Close .